Goldman Environmental Awards Distributed in San Francisco

Last night, the Goldman Awards, also known as the Green Nobel Prizes, were given out in San Francisco. Every year, the Goldman Foundation honors six individuals for their incomparable efforts to protect animals, resources and people around the world. Each winner received $150,000.

According to Amy Lyons, Goldman Prize executive director, the Goldman Environmental Award winners “go above and beyond, they put their lives at risk and they do all they can to protect their communities.”

Meet the Winners:

  • One of the honorees was Raoul du Toit, who spends his time protecting rhinos from poacher sin Zimbabwe. Du Troit and his team relocate rhinos to secure areas, while teaching nearby communities how to protect them. His program provides local schools with money if the rhino population stays healthy.

“Rhinos are big animals, they need big areas,” du Toit explained. “If you look after rhinos in their habitat, there’s a huge amount of other wildlife that’s protected at the same time.”

  • Francisco Pineda is a farmer from El Salvador who works to reduce the contamination of his country’s water as a result of gold mining. Pineda has been successful in his efforts to show his nation what happens to the water, but three of his colleagues have been murdered for the cause.

“For us, water is life,” he said.

  • Prigi Arisandi is also trying to protect the water in his country. He is currently fighting industrial water pollution of the river in Surabaya, Indonesia. Over 90% of his city’s drinking water comes from the river, but the mercury concentration is one hundred times higher than the healthy level.

“Industry free to dumo the chemical waste to the river,” he explained.

Arisandi gathered thousands of followers, and sued the government for their lack of pollution control. The Goldman Prize may help Arisandi in his efforts.

  • Dmitry Lisitsyn is a resident of Sakahlin Island, Russia. This region is teeming with unusual wildlife and is an important marine habitat. It is also full of enormous gas and oil reserves, as well as rapidly-growing development. Lisitsyn and his colleagues have managed to find compromises in order to protect the environment, including the creation of a large wildlife refuge.

“We are not happy with oil development, but we consider it as kind of unavoidable,” Lisitsyn said. “When you see the results of your work, all difficulties are nothing,” he added.

  • Hilton Kelley fights oil companies whose productions pollute the air of his hometown in Texas. Kelley’s campaign went on for many years, but eventually won tougher regulation and additional cooperation between the community and the industry.
  • The last winner, Ursula Sladek, brought renewable energy to Germany. Follwing the nuclear crisis at Chernobyl, Sladek fought for ten years to take over her town’s power grid.

“We supply all the consumers with clean energy, and more than that- we sell clean energy all over Germany now,” Sladek explained.

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